Animations of the Growth of the Internet

I'm pleased to have supervised Aleksi Peltonen's Honours project in Computing Science, producing animations of how the structure of the Internet has changed over the past couple of decades.

The key results from Aleksi's project are shown below:

Note: 100MB animated GIFs - may take some time to load!

The animations show changes the interconnections between the ISPs and other networks that comprise the Internet. Each point in the figures represents a network (i.e., an ISP or other company that participates in Internet routing), with the location around the circle being chosen based on the geographic location of the network. Networks that have more connections to other networks are placed nearer the centre. Lines show the connections between networks. The first graph shows the IPv4 legacy Internet, while the second shows the growth of the newer IPv6 Internet. In both cases, we see the growth in both the number of networks that comprise the Internet, and their greater connectivity. In particular, we see tremendous growth in the IPv6 network, starting in around 2008 and increasing following the World IPv6 Launch in 2012. IPv4 growth is slower — representing more nature IPv4 deployments where the available address space is close to exhaustion.

Technical details of how these plots were generated can be found in Aleksi's project report. In short, the graphs plot inter-AS connections in both the IPv4 and IPv6 AS-level topology graphs from 2000-2017 (IPv4) and from 2004-2017 (IPv6) using data from RouteViews and RIPE RIS. Distance from the centre is based on relative node degree of the AS graph, compared to the node with maximum degree, with the size of the node depending also on the relative degree. The location of a node around the ring is based on the weighted average of the longitude of the geo-located prefixes advertised by the AS. This is intended to match the visualisations produced by CAIDA.